Give the Rockies points for creativity. They keep finding ways to lose baseball games on the road.
Jonathan India hit an infielder chopper for a walk-off single to score Spencer Steer from third base and lift Cincinnati to a 3-2 victory Friday night at Great American Ballpark.
Lost in the loss was a strong start by Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland.
Steer — making a stellar major-league debut — was instrumental in the Reds’ victory. He hit a solo homer in the fifth and led off the ninth with a double into the right-field corner off right-hander Alex Colome. Steer advanced to third on Colome’s wild pitch and scored on Indian’s infield hit against a five-man infield.
Colorado is now 20-45 away from Coors Field, a .308 winning percentage that is last in the majors and ranks as the third-lowest road winning percentage in franchise history.
Early on, there was a spec of good news. Rookie left fielder Sean Bouchard hit a keepsake home run in the second inning to give the Rockies a 2-0. After Elias Diaz reached on a one-out single, Bouchard hit a homer to deep left off right-hander Luis Cessa for the first homer of his career.
Ryan McMahon followed up Bouchard’s homer with a single and advanced to third on Charlie Blackmon’s double. But C.J. Cron struck out and Colorado’s chance for a big inning fizzled.
From the fourth through the ninth, Colorado managed just one hit off Cessa and four Cincinnati relievers, that being a harmless leadoff single by Jose Iglesias in the seventh.
Bouchard drew a walk to lead off the eighth but then made a costly error. He misread Brendan Rodgers’ line drive to right field, thinking it would fall for extra bases. But Arstrides Aquino ran down the ball for the catch and doubled Bouchard off first for an inning-ending double play.
Freeland was mostly on-point for his first four innings. But leading off the fifth, Steer, a third baseman, debut, crushed Freeland’s 2-1 sinker to center field, cutting Colorado’s lead to 2-1.
Freeland ran into traffic in the sixth, yielding a one-out single to Donovan Solano and a bunt single to Stuart Fairchild. He got the second out before giving way to right-hander Justin Lawrence, who pitched around Steer to load the bases but struck out Jose Barrero to preserve the lead.
Freeland, gritty as ever, allowed eight hits over his 5 2/3 innings but just one run. Over his last five road starts, he’s 2-1 with a 2.46 ERA.
Cincinnati tied the game, 2-2, in the seventh on pinch hitter Jake Fraley’s leadoff homer off reliever Dinelson Lamet.